M A I N   N E W S

Modi lobbies for support as BCCI plans his ouster
A face-saver likely if IPL boss attends meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service & Agencies

Mumbai/Delhi, April 24
Beleaguered IPL commissioner Lalit Modi today roped in owners of various franchisees to back his case even as BCCI office-bearers met here to chalk out a strategy to remove him from his post when they meet again at the governing council on Monday.

BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) chief Shashank Manohar, secretary N Srinivasan, IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah and chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty were closeted together at a meeting and exchanged messages with other major players in the cricket administrative set up.

While Modi has refused to attend Monday’s meeting stating that he was busy with the IPL final match on Sunday, his foes in the BCCI, as per sources, were determined to oust him the same day. A tentative plan to administer IPL under a committee headed by former cricketer Ravi Shastri has been prepared and is awaiting sanction from the BCCI, sources said.

According to sources, some face-saving formula was being worked out with Modi attending the meeting on Monday to request for more time. Members of the BCCI are being persuaded to grant Modi the concession on condition that he will resign if called upon to do so after being given a hearing.

Also, it has been learnt that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, the immediate past president of BCCI and president-elect of the International Cricket Council, is playing the role of a mediator.

Pushed to the wall but still defiant, Modi today dared the BCCI to sack him at Monday's meeting. “People pressurising me to resign -- I can tell you (it) will not happen. Let them remove me then,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “What we have done has been there for all of you to see for the past four years. No one can take that away.”

The IPL chief had sought time till May 1 to present his replies sought by the BCCI and the government's investigative agencies.

Fighting a pitched battle to save his chair, Modi has roped in owners of various franchisees to back his cause for additional time. He met Mumbai Indians owner Mukesh Ambani yesterday. The outcome of their meeting, however, was not known.

But other franchisee owners like Vijay Mallya, who owns Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Preity Zinta, who is co-owner of Punjab Kings XI, have come out in support of Modi. The two said Modi should be given time to explain his side of the story. Even former cricket Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who had earlier criticised Modi, felt that he should be given time.

Modi also received a boost when Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah asked BCCI members not to pre-judge Modi and allow the law to take its own course. Abdullah went on to tell a television channel that Modi should be credited for the success of IPL, which brought in a lot of funds to BCCI.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, who resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs after being in the eye of the IPL storm, today said "truth" should come out on the issue and asserted he doesn't need to quit public life as he has committed no irregularity.

“Many facts have come out after my resignation. Let truths come out. While handing over my resignation, I had asked the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) to conduct a thorough investigation into the whole issue,” he said at a party reception on his first visit to his constituency after his exit from the ministry.

Final face-off

IPL boss Lalit Modi refuses to quit, dares BCCI to sack him

Vijay Mallya, Preity Zinta, Pataudi come out in Modi’s support, say he should be given time to explain his side of story

A tentative plan to administer IPL under a panel headed by Ravi Shastri has been prepared, say sources





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